Sunday 19 November 2017
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
The husband of an Australian teacher has been arrested as a suspect in her murder last week, a Kenyan police official said Tuesday. Cyrus Bernard Maina Njuguna and his cousin John Njuguna Waithira were arrested, said area police chief Cunningham Suiyanka. Maina is the prime suspect in the murder of his estranged wife, Gabrielle, said the police chief. Gabrielle had complained of receiving threats from her husband before her killing and had obtained a restraining order as the couple was divorcing, said Suiyanka. Her death was initially reported as a robbery but a post-mortem indicated she could have been shot while kneeling. Police said Gabrielle was killed while walking home in Karen, one of Kenya’s most affluent neighborhoods that has...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
Kenya’s Supreme Court plans to hear last-minute arguments that Thursday’s presidential election should be postponed because a free and fair vote cannot be guaranteed. The top court, whose surprise decision to annul the Aug. 8 election over irregularities set the stage for this week’s new vote, said it will convene Wednesday morning to hear petitioners who allege that Kenya’s electoral commission is in disarray and prone to political interference. A large number of voters would be disenfranchised because opposition leader Raila Odinga, who withdrew from the new election after challenging the first one in court, wants supporters to boycott the vote while seeking electoral reforms, the petition says. The court hearing will occur even though Kenya’s interior ministry has declared...
(The Associated Press 10/25/17)
A Kenyan judge has ruled that the appointments of electoral agents at the constituency level for the Thursday’s repeat presidential election are illegal, throwing more uncertainty on the controversial elections. Judge George Odunga ruled Wednesday that the electoral commission did not follow the law when appointing constituency returning officers and their deputies. Returning officers manage the polling centers at the constituency level and are responsible for the transmission of results to the national tallying centers. Despite this ruling, the electoral commission announced that the repeat elections will go ahead as planned Thursday with the appointed returning officers and deputies. Last month the Supreme Court nullified President Uhuru Kenyatta’s August re-election, citing irregularities and illegalities in the vote. Opposition leader Raila...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/24/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan police used bullets and teargas on Tuesday to disperse a small demonstration in Nairobi two days before elections, as the main opposition leader appeared to row back from a call for his supporters to hold protests during the vote. In the western city of Kisumu, around 2,000 demonstrators marched on the election board offices, witnesses said, responding to Raila Odinga’s appeal for protests against Thursday’s repeat presidential ballot. They dispersed peacefully. Odinga is boycotting the contest against incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta. He says it will not be free and fair because the election board has not made sufficient progress in carrying out reforms he demanded after the original election held in August was annulled. Odinga had urged...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Kenya's Supreme Court said Tuesday it would meet on the eve of the country's presidential election re-run to hear a last-minute petition challenging the ballot. Chief Justice David Maraga, who presided over the annulling of August's original flawed vote, said he will hear a petition filed by human rights activists arguing Kenya is not ready for Thursday's re-run. "Matter to be heard at 10.00 am (07:00 GMT) tomorrow," Maraga ordered in a statement. Maraga said the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) as well as "all the Presidential candidates" must submit their written submissions before the hearing. Kenya's disputed presidential poll has been beset by legal challenges, including one brought by opposition leader Raila Odinga which led to the Supreme...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Kenya stands at a dangerous crossroads ahead of a presidential election Thursday, with opposition leader Raila Odinga refusing to take part and even the country's electoral chief casting doubt on the poll's credibility. The opposition has called for daily mass protests, including on election day, fuelling anxiety over the outcome of an election called after the Supreme Court overturned the result of an August vote. The annulment, based on irregularities in the electronic transmission of votes, was hailed as an opportunity to deepen democracy in a country plagued by disputed elections. But the re-run has instead been dogged by chaos and acrimony. Top diplomats and observers have excoriated both Odinga...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Uhuru Kenyatta, who is set to win a second and final term in Thursday's election re-run, is the son of Kenya's founding president and a man who epitomises the country's elite. The 55-year-old US-educated multi-millionaire, whose family owns an array of businesses, properties and land, followed in his father's footsteps when he defeated his rival Raila Odinga to become president in 2013. Their rematch in August was again won by Kenyatta, with 54 percent of the vote, but the Supreme Court annulled the election due to "irregularities" and ordered a re-run. Kenyatta accepted the judges' ruling but angrily, calling the judges "crooks" and threatening to "fix" the courts if he wins on Thursday -- which is also his birthday. Odinga...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Raila Odinga, Kenya's veteran opposition leader and one-time prime minister, has chosen to sit out Thursday's presidential election re-run, a move that may well end his dream of winning the nation's top job. The 72-year-old has been a mainstay of Kenyan politics since the 1980s, but despite four attempts has never won the presidency. Instead he seems to have inherited the political misfortune of his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who led the opposition for three decades but never the country. For this year's election, held in August, Odinga led a coalition called the National Super Alliance (NASA), overcoming traditional opposition divisions in what he saw as a surefire plan to defeat incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Kenyans are due to go to the polls on Thursday for a re-run of August's presidential election that was annulled by the Supreme Court on the grounds of irregularities. Here are the key developments in the disputed election race. - Tensions on voting day - Voters turn out in large numbers on August 8 after a tight race between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga, his longtime rival. There are fears the bad-tempered campaigning will lead to violence. More than 1,100 people were killed in politically motivated tribal violence after the 2007 election. Early results give Kenyatta a comfortable lead but are immediately rejected by Odinga, who claims hackers broke into the electoral commission database and manipulated the results. The...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
Western nations on Monday warned starkly of Kenya's "deteriorating political environment" ahead of a presidential election re-run, urging the major parties to halt incitement and verbal attacks on institutions. US Ambassador Robert Godec said that if the electoral commission felt it was not ready for Thursday's poll, it should ask the courts for a delay. "We would be fine with that," he said. But with the election commission pushing ahead and both President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga digging in, it looks as if a vote will go ahead -- but without Odinga, who withdrew his candidacy earlier this month. Godec read a statement from 20 Western envoys, including the 28-nation European Union, calling for political rivals to...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan authorities will arrest and charge the sister of opposition leader Raila Odinga with incitement to violence after attacks on the election board, the chief prosecutor’s office said on Monday. Odinga has pulled out of the re-run of an election he was due to contest on Thursday against President Uhuru Kenyatta, saying problems with the election board meant the vote would not be fair. He has called for protests and a boycott and on Sunday said on Twitter there would be “no election”. “We resume our picketing at IEBC (election board) offices countrywide on Tuesday and Wednesday. We maintain that there will be no election on Thursday,” he said, without giving details. Kenya is East Africa’s richest...
(AFP (eng) 10/23/17)
Pope Francis on Sunday called for constructive dialogue in Kenya where he said he was following the situation with "close attention" over disputed elections. "I am paying close attention in these days to Kenya, which I visited in 2015," Francis told pilgrims and tourists gathered for the Angelus prayer. Francis said he was praying "that the whole country might be able to face the current difficulties in a climate of constructive dialogue, having at heart the search for the common good." In a shock decision, Kenya's Supreme Court overturned the August election victory of President Uhuru Kenyatta over his opposition leader Raila Odinga, citing "irregularities" in the transmission of the results. The ruling, unprecedented in Africa, has plunged the country...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his rival Raila Odinga made calls Friday for election peace, while making veiled digs at each other on a day when the country celebrates its independence heroes. In the capital Nairobi, Kenyatta oversaw a celebration full of pomp and ceremony for the annual Heroes Day, using the opportunity to push his campaign for re-election and warn his rival against disrupting next Thursday's vote. The president, whose August victory was overturned by the Supreme Court, accused the opposition of abusing hard-fought democratic freedoms "to create anarchy". Upon his arrival at the ceremony Kenyatta was obliged to shake hands with Chief Justice David Maraga...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga, who says he will boycott a presidential election re-run due next week, said on Friday he would announce a “way forward” the day before the scheduled poll, raising the possibility he might participate after all. At a memorial in western Kenya for opposition supporters killed in protests against the vote set for Oct. 26, Odinga told his supporters not to attack “innocent people” including people who support his rival President Uhuru Kenyatta. He did not comment on an announcement by the electoral board chief executive Ezra Chiloba earlier on Friday that he would take three weeks’ leave. Kenya is holding the re-run after the Supreme Court threw out the result of an...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/19/17)
Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga said Thursday he could "reconsider" his decision to quit the country's troubled election race, provided there was "proper" headway on electoral reform. "If proper consultations are done and if proper reforms are carried out, and those fears that we raised are addressed, that made us pull out of this race, then we will reconsider," Odinga said. "But as it stands right now, our position is (as) we announced it yesterday," he warned. Odinga made the remarks after meeting Wafula Chebukati, head of the Kenyan election board, just a week before presidential elections that have plunged the country into a deep crisis. It will be the second election this year -- the Supreme Court last month...
(Xinhuanet 10/19/17)
The use of mobile money in Kenya declined by the biggest margin in August, pointing to jitters related to East African nation polls first held on Aug. 8. Kenyans transacted on mobile phone 2.8 billion U.S. dollars during the month, down from 3 billion dollars in July, Central Bank of Kenya data showed Wednesday. It was the biggest fall since the start of the year, with mobile money transactions recording rise and decline in use in separate months during the period. According to the apex bank's data, the highest transaction Kenya recorded in the first eight months of the year was 3.2 billion dollars in March. That equally was the highest the country has ever transacted in the history of...

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